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Soccer

Cursed (or blessed?) with a short attention span, I find it surprising that my love for soccer has remained strong for 25 years. I’ve tried Zumba, volleyball, kickboxing, yoga, softball, jazzercise, golf, kickball, and many more, and without fail, after about 3 weeks, I’m bored with the activity (rarely the people). Ready for something new, a different type of excitement.

But soccer? Oh, I love soccer. I love indoor. I especially love playing outdoor. It’s amazing. Running for miles up and down the field. Making that perfect pass. Stealing the ball from an opponent. During and after these games, my mind and soul are at peace and filled with such delight.

Over the years, it’s become a bit “unlucky” that soccer does not love me. Knotted calves that won’t go away for weeks. Planters fasciitis. Reconstructed ACL. Sprained ankles. Achilles tendinitis. Torn meniscus. Ankles that click when I walk. And now a possible torn MCL.

Oh soccer, why do you do this to me? I tell myself it won’t happen again. I’ll stay in shape, lose the weight, strengthen the legs and abs, run during the week. But then life happens. I go on vacation. I travel to visit family, work meetings/schedule changes, whatever, and that focus on health and strength is put on hold. Just for the day. Well, that day turns into two, then a week or so, and next thing I know, something hurts. A lot.

Then the overused mantra fills the head, “Don’t overdo it. It’s better to miss a few games, a few weeks, then be out the season.” So, I rest (oh, rest, how I despise you). And I do light exercises. Because every injury that occurs, whether big or small, shares a common goal. To get back on the field, to play again. And I know I will do whatever it takes to be able to tie on my cleats and play. It’s that simple.

Even with the same end goal, the questions still nag at the back of the mind. All these injuries…is it a sign to stop playing soccer or a sign to take better care of myself? Is it the universe’s way of telling me that I’m old, that perhaps I should switch to a non-contact sport, that maybe I should focus on finishing that book that refuses to write itself? Is it strictly another hurdle that I must overcome to continue playing the sport I love?

For now, I’m going with the last option. Hurdles, I can handle.

Day 3:
I’m angry. So angry. At my knee. At my life. At my friends who don’t understand. Yes, I’m hurt, but I still want to play. Should I? Probably not. But do I want to? Yes. Yes. I want to play. I want to move. I want to be out on that field, playing with my friends, moving. But there’s a part of me that tells me not to go, not to try. If I show up, I’ll play. If I play, who knows what will happen. Rest. Heal. Don’t force it.

But I’m still angry.

Angry is much better than sad. Yesterday, I was sad. “Woe is Me” was the theme of the day. Only fixed by the announcement that my SIL’s twins are both boys! Oh that put me in a fabulous mood. So happy. So joyful. Twin boys. Ooo wee, my bro and SIL will have their hands full. The little ones are going to be so rambunctious and sneaky. I can’t wait until they start outsmarting T&R. Mwhahaha. And when they start crawling then talking, then developing a personality. Or what about when they start liking girls. Or driving. Oh man. So many years to look forward to, watching them grow and learn. I can’t wait to see which traits of T and R each twin will embrace.

Back to today: no more pity party, and I’ve advanced to angry. If I’m following the five stages of grief, anger is second and depression is fourth. However, I admit that I was in denial on Sunday (I’ll be playing again by Friday, watch me), then bargaining (okay, let’s make this nothing but a tweak, and I promise I’ll start running again and go to the gym twice a week. I’ll stay in shape, I promise), then the anger today, depression yesterday. Haven’t reached acceptance yet. That will most likely hit after I play on Friday and my knee holds out. Two more days and I’ll know whether to start the entire cycle over or reach acceptance. Two more days.

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